Pater Noster

Adding The Lord’s Prayer in Latin to Our Mass

The following is a series of letters from our priests discussing the addition of The Lord's Prayer in Latin to our regular Mass.

Dec. 30, 2018

Manifesting Catholic Universality in the Midst of Diversity

Chanting the "Our Father" in Latin

Dear Parishioners,

Peace to you from the rectory and Blessed Feast of the Holy Family! This feast takes note that in coming among us, Jesus came in a family, to emphasize the special place the family has in God’s plan. By honoring the Holy Family of Jesus, the Church honors all families, especially our own individual families.

Jesus also emphasized that each one of us belongs to a larger family as well – the family of God. This He did when He taught His disciples the Our Father. Every time we say this prayer, we profess God as Father and all of humanity as brothers and sisters.

While the singing of the Our Father is a powerful sign of unity – something we do at every Mass – I have in mind a way to manifest this unity even more profoundly at Mass – by chanting this prayer in Latin, the language of the Universal Church.

Our parish includes various ethnic groups, with Anglo, Hispanic and Asian predominating. Our ethnicity shines through when we celebrate special multilingual Masses, like Thanksgiving, Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil. Our catholicity, or universality, likewise shines through at these special liturgies when we chant the Kyrie in Greek, and the Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin. Chanting the Our Father in Latin is one more way to manifest Catholic universality in the midst of diversity.

Parish Music Director Tim Dusenbury will take care of training us in this chant, aiming for proficiency in time for the upcoming multilingual Masses during Holy Week, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the Easter Vigil. At those two liturgies, each parishioner – no matter his or her everyday language – will be equipped to chant the Our Father in unison.

As Tim begins this training in the coming weeks, Fr Steven and I look forward to sharing more thoughts on the benefits of using Latin in our English or Spanish liturgies. Until then, blessed New Year to all! St. Philip the Apostle – pray for us!

Your servant in Christ, Fr. Donahue

Jan. 6, 2019

Learning for the Sake of Reverence and Unity

Adding the Chanted Latin "Our Father" to Our Masses

Dear Parishioners,

Peace to you from the rectory, Happy New Year, and Blessed Feast of the Epiphany! Sunday, Januaey 6th’s feast, also known as Three Kings’ Day, commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Newborn Christ. The gifts they brought provide a basis for our gift giving at Christmas. More importantly, their sojourn to see Jesus – coming as they did from non-Jewish or Gentile stock – reveals Jesus’ universal vocation as Savior of the whole world, encompassing Jews and non-Jews alike. This universal significance of Jesus ties in with my bulletin letter last week that noted our upcoming use of Latin – designated universally as the language of the Catholic Church – for the chanting of the Our Father at our Sunday Eucharist and other special liturgies.

In a world fractured by disunity, this kind of unity among cultures and throughout the world in the Catholic Church is certainly something to be leveraged to fortify our own unity. On a deeper level, the mysterious aspects of the Latin language will serve to deepen our unity in beholding the mystery of God and the mysteries of our Faith.

While sounding unimportant at first, this kind of reverence for God and the things of God could be a powerful antidote to the great problems we face today: hopelessness, gender-identity confusion, drug abuse, sexual abuse, abortion, suicide, divorce, and religious infidelity. In addition to specific measures addressing each problem, an increase in reverence for God, for His plan, and for the God-given dignity of every person can only help.

It is in a spirit of cooperation that we undertake the challenge of learning something new for the sake of reverence and unity. As I said last week (see above), our parish Music Director Tim Dusenbury will take care of training us in chanting the Our Father in Latin. Proficiency in time for the upcoming multilingual Masses during Holy Week is the goal. At those liturgies, each parishioner – no matter his or her everyday language – will be equipped to chant the Our Father in unison.

Our ongoing effort to introduce the chanted Our Father will continue next week, when Fr. Steven will preach and write on this subject. Meanwhile, I am – as you read this – in freezing cold Michigan, enjoying the sunny personalities of my parents and other relatives. Blessings upon all as we start this New Year! St. Philip the Apostle – pray for us!

Your servant in Christ, Fr. Donahue

Jan. 13, 2019

Helping the Laity to More Fully Participate in the Church’s Liturgy

Dear Parishioners,

Peace to you from the rectory, and Happy Feast Day of the Baptism of the Lord! Sunday’s feast marks the official end of the Christmas Season. In the Church’s calendar this is a time to look forward to the coming year, and make plans and resolutions. As Father Donahue wrote about these past two weeks (see above), one of the resolutions for this Parish is to learn to chant the Our Father in Latin.

The Second Vatican Council came to a close more than 50 years ago. This most recent ecumenical council addressed several needs of the Church, one need in particular was for the laity to more fully participate in the Church’s Liturgy. To this end, the Council gave two instructions: first, the Council instructed that Bishop Conferences had the power to permit the use of the vernacular at Mass. And second, the Church instructed that “steps should be taken so that the faithful may … be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” (Second Vatican Council, “Sacrosanctum Concilium: Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy”, #57) Or, in other words, Vatican II instructed that the Church should teach every Catholic how to say/sing all of the responses in Latin.

The Church has been successful following the first instruction (practically all Catholics have experienced the Liturgy in their mother tongue), but we have a long way to go to follow the second. Out of a desire to be faithful to Vatican II, and for the reasons outlined by Fr. Donahue in his previous letters these past weeks, we at Saint Philip are going to begin chanting the Our Father in Latin at Sunday Mass. 

Learning new things is always tricky, and so to make this change as easy as possible, we are going to supply multiple aids. We will have classes to learn how to chant the Our Father. We will also have the text and music at every Sunday Mass, so everyone can follow along. Stay tuned for more information!

Our goal is that every parishioner of Saint Philip will know from memory the Our Father in Latin by Easter! Please pray for the success of this goal, and please always pray for your priests.

Your servant in Christ, Fr. Steven


Pater Noster
(Our Father, The Lord’s Prayer)

Pater noster, qui es in caelis:
sanctificetur Nomen Tuum;
adveniat Regnum Tuum;
fiat voluntas Tua,
sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a Malo.